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Benodebehari Mukherjee (1904 - 1980) - Early Works
Centenary Retrospective Exhibition curated by Gulammohammed Sheikh & Siva Kumar
New Delhi: December 30th 2006 - February 11th 2007


Text - R.Sivakumar GM & Nilima Sheikh
Identification of Japan trip photos - Omuka Toshiharu Tsutomu Mizusawa
Design and formatting of CD - Pushkar Nagwekar, Kinjal Vora, Sukhdev Rathod, Sanjoy Kumar Malik
Voice - Indrapramit Roy

If Santiniketan marked a definitive shift from the early nationalist art identified with the Bengal School, Benodebehari played a leading role in extending theideological and linguistic directions of the movement and privileging direct visual response to the life of the region. He eschewed the overt symbolism andmythologies which engaged his elders and contemporaries and turned to the representation of immediate environment.

Participation in the formulation of Santiniketan’s pan-Asian orientation brought a gradual assimilation of the representational and compositional principles ofcalligraphic painting and its concomitant world view into his work. This synergy he brought to his perception of the Santiniketan landscape and life therein – in his drawings and sketches, unfolding scrolls and remarkable murals. The highpoint of his personal effort to extend national boundaries was a sojourn to Japan he undertook in 1937. He was eager to see the works of artists like Toba Sojo. Sesshu and Sotatsu whom he greatly admired. He had an exhibition of his work in Tokyo in 1938 and also met artists Arai Kampo and Takeuchi Seiho, art historian Saichi Taki and museum director Akiyama.

Biribhum landscape
tempera on cloth
36.8 x 26.7 cm., early 1920s
Laughter, tempera,
54 x 33 cm., c. 18922-23
Studio, tempera on paper,
36.1 x 23 cm, mid 1930s
The Bridge
 tempera on cloth
47.5 x 60 cm, 1932
The Tree Lover
tempera on paper,
73.7 x 40 cm, 1932
Sar Grass
tempera on paper
29.5 x 51 cm., 1938
Khoai, scroll in water colour
on Nepalese paper,
43 x 373 cm., c 1938
Khoai (detail 1)
Khoai (detail 2)
Banaras ghat
water on paper
30.5 X 30.5 cm. 1942
Banaras Ghat 2
watercolor on Nepali paper
Benodebehari in Japan with
(l to r) Yukihiko Yasuda,
Ryuzo Saito, Kanpo Arai, 1937.
Benodebehari in Japan with
(l to r) Seison Maeda, Kanpo Arai,
Picture Dealer's Shop in Japan
water colour on silk, 1937-38
Benodebehari with Rasbehari
in Japan with unidentified
hosts, 1937.
water colour & ink on paper
36 x 52 cm, early 1940s
ink on paper, 1942
31x61.5 cm
Pages from sketchbook
water colour on paper
24x18 cm1942

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